Yardang-Sculpted Deposits from Apollonaris Patera
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Yardang-Sculpted Deposits from Apollonaris Patera
ESP_041929_1675  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
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We see here a terrain with an incredible morphologic dichotomy: a relatively smooth region that transitions into sharp ridges. These ridges, aligned in the nearly same direction, are called yardangs. Yardangs are not unique to Mars. Many yardangs can be found on Earth, in very dry regions with strong prevailing winds.

Yardangs are formed when a surface that is composed of materials of differing strengths (i.e., of both harder and softer materials) is shaped by the abrasive action of sand and dust carried by the wind. In this case, and given the proximity of the Apollonaris Patera volcanic center, we think that these wind-carved deposits are comprised of volcanic ash and pyroclastics that erupted from Apollonaris when it was last active in the not-too-distant geologic past.

Over time, the softer materials (likely volcanic ash) were eroded away, leaving behind the harder materials in the form of elongated ridges that are parallel to the direction of the prevailing wind. The end result is a stunning, out-of-this-world display of yardangs, sculpted with the artistic chisel of the Martian wind.

Written by: Elizabeth Silber, Livio Tornabene, and Kayle Hansen  (12 August 2015)
 
Acquisition date
07 July 2015

Local Mars time:
14:31

Latitude (centered)
-12.601°

Longitude (East)
177.152°

Spacecraft altitude
264.0 km (165.0 miles)

Original image scale range
52.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~158 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Equirectangular

Emission angle:
0.1°

Phase angle:
41.3°

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
9.4°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  27.8°
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POSTSCRIPT
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.